This photo taken from Saudi media shows Saudi Defense Minister and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz visiting military forces in the kingdom’s south.
In an article published on the websites of The Washington Post
and HRW, Deputy United Nations Director at Human Rights Watch Akshaya Kumar lashed out at the Saudi crown prince and defense minister for the catastrophic ramifications of the Riyadh-led coalition’s war on Yemen.
“There has been nothing bold or transformative about his coalition’s relentless bombing of Yemen’s civilians while denying to hold any of his own forces accountable for their war crimes,” read the article.
“As restrictions on imports push millions of Yemenis further into famine and aid the spread of normally treatable diseases, Prince Bin Salman should not be getting a free pass. Instead, he and other senior coalition leaders should face international sanctions,” it added.
This is while bin Salman ended up this month winning Time Magazine
readers’ poll for Person of the Year over his “reforms” in the kingdom, the HRW article said.
The young prince was appointed the first in line to the Saudi throne by his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, in June.
Since then, he has engaged in a string of radical economic and social projects in a bid to portray himself as a “reformist.” But those projects have been widely seen to be more about consolidating his personal power and less about bringing about real change to Saudi Arabia.
Prince Mohammed has been behind an aggressive push to purge royals and businessmen critical of his policies under the banner of an “anti-corruption campaign.”
The HRW article pointed to a 2015 UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution which gave the body the power to impose travel bans and asset freezes on anyone responsible for obstructing the delivery of life-saving aid.
The UNSC “has the power to put sanctions on anyone violating the laws of war in Yemen. Coalition leaders, including Prince bin Salman, meet that threshold,” it said.
“The United Nations has information that points to the need for similar individual sanctions on coalition members, including military leaders in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. But mostly because of the power of Saudi Arabia’s allies — the United States, France and the United Kingdom — the Security Council hasn’t acted," HRW pointed out.
A Yemeni woman sits next to a malnourished Yemeni child receiving treatment at a hospital in the Yemeni port city of Hudaydah on December 19, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Saudi Arabia has been incessantly pounding Yemen since March 2015 in an attempt to crush the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstate the former Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of the Riyadh regime.
More than 12,000 people have been killed since the onset of the campaign more than two and a half years ago. Much of the Arabian Peninsula country's infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and factories, has been reduced to rubble due to the war.
Moreover, Riyadh has imposed a tight blockade on nearly all Yemeni air, land and sea ports, prompting human rights and charity groups to raise the alarm over the deteriorating situation in the country as people, particularly children, are increasingly suffering from the lack of food and medical supplies.
According to the UN, Yemen is experiencing “the world’s largest humanitarian crisis” and the “worst cholera epidemic” as a result of the Saudi-led war.
“Continuing to shield the Saudis will abandon millions of Yemenis to further death and misery. The Crown Prince shouldn’t be able to paper over abuses abroad with talk of reform at home,” HRW said.